If you’re searching “Memory Care vs. Assisted Living” you’re likely a family member trying to find out what option is best for your beloved senior family member. Making the right choice for your mom, dad, aunt, or uncle is important as you want to make sure they are getting the care they need in a compassionate and friendly setting.
When it comes to long-term senior care, assisted living and memory care are options that are quickly growing. Discover the main differences between these two forms of care, including the expenses, types of services provided, and how to determine the best community.
Defining Long-Term Care and Assisted Living
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at some point in life, nearly 70% of adults aged 65 or older will require long-term care.
As loved ones become unable to live independently, that is when the caregiver must face the challenging decision of which form of care to use, as long-term care options are not all the same. The two quickest growing forms of residential senior care include memory care and assisted living facilities, but do you know the differences in the two, or the main factors in determining which is best?
Assisted living is an available option if your loved one is still vital and active, but simply is unable to live independently and require help with daily activities, such as eating, dressing, or bathing. The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as “long-term care which combines support services, health care, and housing as required.” It is common for assisted living to provide personal care services, such as medication management, transportation, and around the clock care. Generally, seniors within assisted living communities also have options of a shared apartment or private room, depending on budget and preference.
As loved one’s age, they may need some added assistance with daily tasks, or require nursing care that I more specialized if they are suffering from age-related health conditions that affect mobility, such as dementia. In this case, assisted living communities are limited in the type of services that they can offer, but some are equipped to offer memory care services, commonly within a dementia special care unit (SCU).
Furthermore, assisted living facilities are not regulated by the government, but they must be licensed by the state of their location.
Memory Care vs Assisted Living
While memory care units may be available on the premises of assisted living communities, they are two different forms of care.
Memory care is a more distinct and focused type of long-term care requiring medical staff that is skilled and experienced in specific types of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other memory issues. Memory care units are also referred to as special care units (SCUs), and generally offer supervised care 24 hours a day that is located in a separate wing or floor than residential communities.
Similar to assisted living, if loved ones are not able to care for themselves because of progressive impairments, memory care is a residential option. Beyond offering help with daily activities, such as with assisted living, skilled staff are trained to help those with impaired cognition or dementia. In addition, the overall security and physical layout of memory care facilities are designed for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s to minimize wondering behavior, while providing a pleasant environment that is simple to navigate.
Furthermore, memory care facilities also require a generalized state level license, as well as being regulated within 23 states by special care unit disclosure laws that require the care provider to disclose any special services provided. Although, due to these laws not being universal yet, it is important that the caregiver carefully researches a facility prior to deciding on a location.
Long-Term Cost Comparison
Both memory care and assisted living are subject to many of the same factors: size of apartment or rooms, geographical location, shared or private space, and required services. However, when it comes to the overall costs, these are calculated a little differently for each form of care.
Usually, assisted living communities will charge a base monthly rate that covers two or three meals per day, and room and board. On average, the costs of a 1-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility is $3,300 per month, depending on location. There are facilities that provide housekeeping or laundry within the base rate, while others will charge additional fees for these services. Because of this, it is important thatyou obtain a breakdown of the cost from each facility you look into.
Due to memory care providing more specialized care and round the clock nursing services, which regular assisted living facilities do not provide, it results in costs being higher. On average, it is $5,000 per month, but this can vary greatly. Luckily, there are options that assist in paying these costs for senior care to lower out-of-pocket expenses, including Medicaid, Medicare, and veteransbenefits.
Services Provided in Assisted Living and Memory Care
The regulations on what services should be offered at senior care communities vary by state. However, both assisted living and memory care usually offer basic supervised care, medical monitoring, and daily assisted with activities that include bathing, mobility, and dressing. The following are other services commonly offered by both forms of care:
- Emergency call system
- 24-hour security and supervision staff
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Three meals per day
- Exercise and health programs
- Social activity programs
- Access to medical care
In addition to the base monthly rates, some of these service may be an additional cost.
In addition, memory care facilities will commonly include more structured activity programs that are designed to help nurture residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s. For example, “Reminiscence neighborhoods” is a program offered by Sunrise Senior Living with indoor and outdoor space that’s designed to provide a soothing and safe environment, with trained staff and a variety of familiar activities available.
Assisted Living or Memory Care, Which Should I Choose?
If you are not immediately concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s and your loved one is still able to be independent, but needing assistance with some activities, assisted living would be the best option. Although, if your loved one is in need of more detailed care due to memory impairment, you might want to begin considering a memory care facility, or at least an assisted living community with a special care unit for those suffering with memory issues.
Memory Care & Assisted Living in Arizona
Senior Living Services offers Memory Care Services in Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria, Sedona, Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise, Arizona. If you have a family member that would live better, safer, and more healthy is a memory care or assisted living setting SLS Communities has multiple locations in Arizona to serve you and your family.
Our compassionate staff removes the burden of daily chores and worry for seniors to allow them to enjoy activities and social experiences. Staff tailors the level of care to each resident of our assisted living and memory care living communities to offer residents the level of care they need and want. If you would like more information about which type of care would fit best, a list of our locations in Arizona, or want to schedule a visit please visit slscommunities.com or call 480-348-0300